Fiscal Insanity

The Daily Wire posted an article today about the latest proposal by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The article reports:

The 29-year-old former bartender has unveiled a new six-bill package of legislation titled “A Just Society.”

“A just society provides a living wage, safe working conditions, and healthcare. A just society acknowledges the value of immigrants to our communities. A just society guarantees safe, comfortable, and affordable housing,” says a page on her House website dedicated to the package. “By strengthening our social and economic foundations, we are preparing ourselves to embark on the journey to save our planet by rebuilding our economy and cultivate a just society.”

The package has six parts:

  • “The Place to Prosper Act” would prevent year-over-year rent increases of more than 3%.
  • “The Uplift Workers Act” would mandate that the Department of Labor to create a “worker-friendly score” considering factors such as paid-family leave, a $15 minimum wage and union membership.
  • “The Mercy in Re-entry Act” would grant public benefits to those convicted of criminal offenses.
  • The “Guarantees the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights for All” Act does, well, just that.
  • “The Recognizing Poverty Act” orders the Department of Health and Human Services “to adjust the federal poverty line” based on location.
  • “The Embrace Act” would allow illegal aliens to claim the same welfare benefits as all U.S. citizens and legal immigrants.

How about a “just society” where everyone gets to keep what they earn, and those who feel the need to help others are free to do that.

A New York Times article from November 3, 2018, reported the following:

Charitable contributions may be lower in Democratic-leaning counties, but residents support the social safety net through higher taxes.

Note to those who support government programs over private charity–in general private charities are run much more efficiently than government programs. Private charities also have a handle on who genuinely needs help and who has learned how to game the system.

Generally speaking it is never a good idea to take money from people that earn it and give it to people who did not–at best it is de-motivational, at worst it is simple theft.

I Am Nonplussed!

The Aspen Times posted an article today that totally amazes me. If someone can email me and tell me this is a hoax, I will actually be happy.

The article reports:

“If taxpayers didn’t pay for my housing, I couldn’t afford to live in Aspen. I’d have to live 20 minutes away and commute to my Aspen office.”

The person who spoke those words gets a $2 million house here in Aspen. Under the city’s “affordable housing” lottery, taxpayers pay 80 percent to 90 percent of the cost for people making as much as $186,000 a year. Some of that subsidy is paid for by people making, oh, about $34,000 a year.

The words quoted above were her defense of that scheme. In short, she says the scheme is good because it’s good for her.

It is one of the great ironies of our time that socialists no longer promote socialism as beneficial to society. Instead, they promote it as beneficial to themselves personally.

As in, “Let’s forgive student loans so that I don’t have to repay mine.” And, “Let’s raise taxes on everyone who makes more than I do.” And, “Let’s use taxpayer money to buy multimillion-dollar houses in resort towns for the upper middle class because I want one.”

Maybe it’s time to officially change the name from “socialism” to “selfish-ism.”

It gets worse:

Speaking of cronyism and conflicts of interest among the “in” crowd, what are the ethical implications of City Council members who are living in taxpayer-subsidized housing making decisions to route additional taxpayer money to those houses?

For their sake, I hope those City Council members have an ironclad legal opinion on the legality and ethics of their conflict of interest. And I hope it’s not an opinion that compounds the conflict. By that, I mean it had better be an opinion from an independent lawyer and not one written at taxpayer expense by their subordinates in the City Attorney’s Office.

Wow. I think they need a new City Council!

Coming To A Neighborhood Near You

On July 19, 2013, the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Department of the federal government proposed the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation.

This is a brief summary of the regulation taken from the Federal Register:

This proposed rule would amend HUD regulations in 24 CFR part 5 that contain general HUD program requirements, and specifically 24 CFR part 5, subpart A, which contains generally applicable definitions and federal requirements that are applicable to all or almost all HUD programs. This rule proposes to add new §§ 5.150-5.180 under the undesignated heading of “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.” These new sections will primarily provide the regulations that will govern the affirmatively furthering fair housing planning process by states, local governments, and PHAs, but reserves additional sections in subpart A for HUD to continue to provide regulations that will assist all HUD program participants in more effectively affirmatively furthering fair housing.

Purpose of Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Regulations (§ 5.150). New § 5.150 states that the purpose of HUD’s new regulations (AFFH regulations) is to provide more effective means of meeting the statutory obligation imposed on HUD program participants to affirmatively further fair housing. The new AFFH regulations are intended to add clarity to the goals that are at the heart of affirmatively furthering fair housing, to provide for guidance and interaction between HUD and program participants and, to the extent appropriate, inform other housing and urban development programs that are subject to AFFH requirements. The new regulations envision a process that is structurally incorporated into the consolidated plan and the PHA planning process, building upon what is already familiar to HUD program participants and thus reducing burden and connecting disparate planning processes.

So what exactly does this mean? Americans for limited government puts it in real terms:

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today urged the Senate to support an amendment by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), S.3897, to the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) appropriations bill that will prohibit implementation of the HUD regulation “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” (AFFH) that conditions $3 billion of yearly community development block grants on 1,200 recipient cities and counties rezoning neighborhoods along income and racial guidelines:

“There is zero excuse for allowing the federal government to dictate local zoning policy via community development block grants to impose racial and income zoning quotas on cities and counties. Zoning ordinances only determine what can be built where, not who lives there. People can move wherever they want, and rent or buy. Real housing discrimination, that is, denying housing on the basis of race, has been illegal for decades. It is not at all what is at issue in the upcoming vote in the Senate.

“The Lee amendment simply says that community development block grants, which have been around for more than 40 years, can be spent by local communities as they see fit to put affordable housing where they think it makes sense. That’s the way these block grants have always been allocated, but suddenly, the Obama Administration found some new power for HUD to condition the community development block grants based on fulfilling the department’s utopian vision of racial and income equality.

“Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing is not about expanding the poor’s access to housing, it’s about expanding the federal government’s reach into local municipalities. Republican or Democrat, defunding this overreach should be an easy vote for every senator.”

One example of how the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation actually works is cited at a website called Obamazone.org:

In Westchester County, N.Y., a trial run for the rule has already occurred where HUD has attempted to rezone six cities, 19 towns and 20 villages as a condition for receiving $5 million of grants. Rather than submit to federal rule, County Executive Rob Astorino simply rejected the money from 2012, and Westchester lost out on some $7 million of grants from 2011 for the same reason. Watch the video of Astorino explaining how the HUD regulation will affect your neighborhood.

This is just the beginning, and left unchecked, the impact of this regulation will be felt nationwide. In 2012, HUD dispersed about $3.8 billion of these grants to almost 1,200 municipalities. By virtue of accepting the grants, under the rule, each of these 1,200 municipalities will be forced to comply with HUD’s racial zoning edicts.

The House of Representatives has already acted, defunding implementation of the regulation two years in a row. Now, it is the Senate’s turn to act. Senator Mike Lee has introduced an amendment to the Transportation and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) appropriations bill defunding implementation of the “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” rule.

Zoning laws are done by local governments who understand the area they are dealing with–the infrastructure, the land, and the resources. The federal government has no business overriding local government laws and decisions.

Improving Your Image On A False Premise

On Friday, Investors.com posted an article about Elizabeth Warren‘s objections to the budget bill because of bank risk.

The article reports:

Warren last week took to her socialist soapbox to try to torpedo the “cromnibus” spending bill. She warned legislators they would be blamed for another financial crisis if they dared to vote for any appropriations legislation that includes anti-Dodd-Frank provisions.

Pontificating from the Senate floor Thursday, Warren railed against Republicans and fellow Democrats alike for adding a provision to the bill to restore to banks the right to use derivatives to hedge risks for customers.

She claimed repeal of the regulation “would let derivatives traders on Wall Street gamble with taxpayer money and get bailed out by the government when their risky bets threaten to blow up our financial system.”

Added Warren: “These are the same banks that nearly broke the economy in 2008 and destroyed millions of jobs. The same banks that got bailed out by taxpayers and are now raking in record profits.

“A vote for this bill is a vote for taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street,” she continued.

But where was she three days earlier, when Fannie and Freddie unveiled new low-income mortgages with just 3% down payments? The move encourages the kind of risky lending that actually caused the crisis, yet she didn’t say a peep.

The taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street go back to the Community Reinvestment Act, passed by Jimmy Carter and revised in 1994 to repeal some restrictions on interstate banking.

The article explains what actually happened:

The “main culprit” in the housing crisis was Fannie and Freddie and their mission regulator, HUD, which was cheered on by affordable-housing zealots in the House like Warren’s pal Barney Frank.

HUD pressured Fannie and Freddie to make high-risk loans to “underserved” borrowers, and to do that they had to lower their underwriting standards to the point where they were buying as many subprime loans as prime. While HUD was enforcing its affordable-housing quotas, down payments plunged along with credit scores.

When the housing price bubble burst, those loans were the first to default. When the music stopped, a whopping 77% of all the bad loans ended up on the books of Fannie and Freddie and other federal agencies — not Wall Street banks.

The evidence of government guilt in the crisis is overwhelming. Yet Warren keeps up the false narrative.

Unfortunately, that false narrative has been used for so long that uninformed voters believe it. Part of what is needed to change the politics of Washington is an educated voter. Until voters learn to look past what the mainstream media is telling them, the government will continue to make reckless decisions that result in taxpayer money being used to correct government mistakes.

Crony Capitalism And The Justice Department

It is extremely dangerous to get on the wrong side of the Obama Administration. If you lose your health insurance and speak out about it, you could be audited (cns news), if you make major contributions to Republican candidates, your company could suddenly be inspected for all sorts of federal regulation violations (rightwinggranny.com), and if you gave to the Tea Party, you could face a partial audit (that happened to me–the first time my husband and I have been audited in 46 years). It does seem as if the government is somewhat out of control. An article at Investor’s Business Daily about the recent settlement between JPMorgan and the Justice Department provides further proof.

The article reports:

They (radical Democrat groups) stand to reap millions. The “consumer relief” portion of the deal by itself totals $4 billion.

If the government “determines that a shortfall in that obligation remains as of Dec. 31, 2017,” the agreement states, “JPMorgan shall make a compensatory payment in cash in an amount equal to the shortfall to NeighborWorks America to provide housing counseling, neighborhood stabilization, foreclosure prevention or similar programs.”

Potentially billions could be distributed to Democrat activists through NeighborWorks, a government-funded “affordable housing” group that supports a national network of left-wing community organizers operating in the same vein as Acorn.

In 2011 alone, NeighborWorks shelled out $35 billion in “affordable housing grants” to 115 such groups, according its website. Recipients included the radical Affordable Housing Alliance, which pressures banks to make high-risk loans in low-income neighborhoods.

The recession has dried up funding for such groups. But Holder’s massive bank shakedown could rebuild their war chests in a hurry.

This is not the way honest people do government.

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